The Economist’s Recipe for Success

The Economist is one of the success stories in the shift of news media from print to digital. Its web site receives 7.8 million unique visitors each month, most introduced to it through social media, where it has over a million Facebook followers, and Twitter, where it has two million followers.  It also has a prestigious reputation for delivering well-thought out financial news analysis that came with the magazine from its print heritage.

Its digital edition (free and paid-for) is read on 500,000 devices. The Chairman’s Interim Report at the send of September of last year pointed out that people increasingly read The Economist on tablets and smartphones.

Of the total circulation of 1.6m in September, 140,000 customers bought digital-only copies. Of the others, about 25% read both print and digital editions.

The Economist Group, which owns the magazine, is investing to make sure it develops The Economist on the devices its readers use, and  is also adapting marketing so that prospective readers know the paper is available on these platforms.

In its Annual Report, the company calls attention to a welcome new trend:  the revival of long form journalism because of the fast uptake of tablets.

What is revolutionary for magazines like The Economist, however, is the reinvention of long-form reading triggered by Amazon when it launched Kindle in 2007 and fueled dramatically by Apple’s iPad.x We are fortunate because tablets, e-readers and smartphones allow our readers to  enjoy the ritual, lean-back, immersive experience of reading The Economist that they love in print. Many of our readers tell us that this experience is, in fact, even better than print ,because as well as being lean-back, digital editions are delivered immediately and reliably…; the backlit screens display images, maps and charts beautifully; and the devices offer opportunities to innovate and deliver more functionality—so, for example, our tablet and smartphone apps also deliver the full newspaper in audio each week.

Very recently, the editor-in-chief of the Economist, John Micklethwait, told a conference audience that  “it’s possible that the economics are being turned upside down — not just advertising, but also circulation. You can now reach hundreds of thousands of people at very little extra marginal cost through digital devices.

There are few publications that have managed the transition to digital with more aplomb and more financial stability. ZEDO is honored to welcome The Economist as a publisher client and we look forward to their thought leadership in publishing.


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